Hi! My name is Stephanie Zonis, and welcome to the December,
1999 (Holiday) edition of "For Chocolate Lovers Only". Each
month you'll find great recipes, tips, and recommendations on
As another year comes to a close, I'd like to thank Patti, Paul,
and Sunil for giving me the chance to talk about chocolate with
all of you. Thanks also to my parents and my sisters for their
support and love. And special thanks to all of my readers, without
whom there would be no column. Happy Holidays and Happy New
Year to you all!
Please take some time this month to cook something. Food and
food preparation are so often overlooked in our busy lifestyles,
and that just isn't as it should be. Whether it's an elaborate
holiday dinner or made-from-scratch brownies, we need to become
more aware of what we eat and how it is made, and there's no
better way of doing that than making food yourself. Our children
are becoming culinary illiterates because we aren't teaching
them even basic food preparation skills. Microwave ovens and
the occasional mix or prepackaged food can be great timesavers
in the kitchen, but people need to realize that there's much
more to food than just making it and eating it as quickly as
Chocolate Recommendation of the Month: Peanut Butter Fudge Swirl.
Coffee Heath Crunch. Black Forest Cheesecake. Sound good? All
are superpremium ice creams made by December's Chocolate Recommendation,
Bart's Homemade. Ice cream in December, I hear you ask?
Absolutely! Most people would agree that the holidays are a
time for foods we especially enjoy, and everyone I know adores
ice cream. Further, this ice cream is distinctive for several
reasons. Part of the mission statement of Bart's Homemade is
to "support a sustainable, independent future for the Connecticut
River Valley and surrounding region". Milk is obtained solely
from small, family-run farms, all of which have pledged not
to use rbST. Local ingredients are used when possible, and only
all-natural flavorings are employed. Equally importantly, many
of the flavors I've tried are so good I'd walk over hot coals
to get them.
Normally, I'll try a small portion of any chocolate dessert,
then pass the rest along to family and/or friends. But nobody
else got so much as a taste of my pint of Chunky Chocolate Mousse
with Raspberries--chocolate ice cream, chocolate mousse powder,
semisweet chocolate chunks, and a red raspberry ripple. Gentle
reader, this is ice cream to make the downtrodden feel joyful
again. The Orange Dutch Chocolate is a brilliant combination
of flavors, both vying for your attention even as they harmonize
with one another. Even the plain Vanilla (the litmus test of
an ice cream maker, according to some people) is outstanding.
If you ever want a change of pace, Bart's Homemade is there
for you, with Peppermint Stick or Ginger or Kahlua Sombrero.
Wouldn't a gift of great ice cream be unique? And a sampler
of this ice cream as a holiday dessert would bring sighs of
contentment from adults and children alike. The company makes
sorbets and low fat organic ice creams, too. If you're a true
frozen dessert devotee,
www.bartshomemade.com is the place to be!
All of t on have reputations for
excellence, but all are unique to work with and no two will
taste the same. Click here for my
highly selective list.
Chocolate Idea of the Month: For New Year's Eve or a holiday
party, how about an All- Chocolate Dessert Buffet? Champagne
as a beverage would be fun and classy (you could even have a
champagne buffet to go with your chocolate buffet!), but make
sure to have coffee and pitchers of ice water, too. For those
who can't eat chocolate all night long, serve a few good cheeses
with fruit and crackers. For the buffet itself, be prepared
with plenty of extra plates, napkins, and utensils. Choose only
desserts that can be made well ahead and/or frozen, so they'll
require no last-minute work on your part (except, perhaps, for
decoration). The idea here is that people will try most, if
not all, of what you serve, so make portions small; you should
be able to get twice as many servings out of each dessert as
you normally would. The desserts needn't all be ornate or large
(truflles or special cookies would be fine buffet items, for
instance), but do have at least one grand, showy creation. If
you're having 12 people, plan on making 6 to 8 different desserts.
The buffet can be dress-down or dress- up, as you please. If
you have leftovers, send them home with your guests to ensure
a sweet start to the new year.
Do you have a comment, question, or suggestion? I'd like your
input into this column. You can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org;
please specify that you're writing regarding "For Chocolate
Lovers Only". Thank you!